Basically, 2012 will be the busiest year for Britain more so to the British tourism industry. The whole world will be eying Britain not only for the 2012 Olympic Games but also other events including Paralympics, Commonwealth games and Diamond Jubilee. Thousands of tourists will be coming to Britain for these events therefore this is the best opportunity for this country to showcase what she has to offer (Morgan & Pritchard, 2000, p.47). For this reason the British government has come up with serious strategies that will enable the tourism industry flourish towards, during and even after the events. However 2012 events are not the only reason why the government has intensified its role in enhancing the industry. The government aims to harness the greatest potential tourism industry holds in the growth of the country’s economy.
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Tourism has always been underestimated yet the industry plays a critical role in the growth of the country’s economy. In fact, the tourism industry is among the top ranked industries in Britain and accounts for a third of the total export the country earns (Cooper et al., 2008, p.227).
In addition, the industry account for almost a trillion pounds spent per year and contains over 200,000 thousand small businesses, firms and large corporations providing approximately 4% of the country jobs. Equally important, the tourism industry plays essential role in wealth creation and employment not just in the areas that are served with beautiful sceneries and run- down communities but similarly the country as a whole (Cooper et al., 2008, p.227). Tourism industry that is thriving creates beautiful sceneries to visit all over the country which by extension improves the living standard to the residence of these areas.
Strategies for Marketing Britain as the best tourist destination
The government is pursuing strategies that go beyond policies particularly from the tourism perspective. These strategies range from reducing the bureaucracies in businesses to visa applications in addition to queuing times at the airport. Moreover, the strategies will be concentrating on tourism planning and infrastructure development. Basically, these strategies have covered the entire areas that impacts greatly not only to the tourists visiting the country but also the small businesses and large organizations central to the industry (Williams et al., 2003, p.134).
Very important to the success of the tourism industry are the industry players. The strategies sets out how the tourism bodies will be modernized, ensuring that they are reflective of natural geography of the tourist area and enabling the businesses as well as organization to collaborate in marketing the country’s tourism in their most effective way (Williams et al., 2003, p.134). Imperatively, the strategy ensures government partnership with the private sector to enhance the marketing processes and to promote Britain tourism abroad. Vital in this whole process is VisitBritain.
Role of marketing agencies
VisitBritain is one of the national tourism agencies that are charged with the responsibility of marketing Britain globally besides increasing her economic visitors. In fact, VisitBritain is a private body financed by the Britain DSMC (Department of Sports, Media and Culture) together with other agencies and partners commonly found both in the United Kingdom and overseas. The marketing agency has to ensure that Britain is sold out in an inspirational as well as relevant way around the globe as a tourist destination (McCabe, 2009, p.54). Other marketing agencies that have partnered with VisitBritain include airlines and operators, UKTI, official tourist marketing bodies from all over the UK along with global brands such as Samsung.
Visit Britain together with the partnering firms has a big role to play in presenting Britain as the best tourist destination. Whereas there is no doubt on the significance of the Britain tourist economy, greater opportunities still exists to develop the sector, increase its productivity, making it become more competitive and similarly profitable. Britain tourism industry provides enhanced potentiality as Britain is the only country in Europe that significantly takes the few current staycation holidays (Hudson, 2008, p.21). The coming years present an exceptional prospects that the industry must grasp. Though the royal wedding has past, the country will still stage a swerve of major international events including 2012 Olympic Games, Paralympics Games and Queen Diamond Jubilee.
VisitBritain as an agency to market Britain as the best tourist destination has three main objectives. To take full advantage of the economic benefits aimed for tourism across UK, improve the image of Britain as the best visitor destination and to deliver the world-class welcome to the 2012 visitors and beyond. To achieve the objectives and capitalize on the 2012 potential, the agency must work closely with the government and other private partners in promoting tourism and Britain as the destination. Indeed, the industry nature entails greater levels of corporation among rival firms in delivering the shared marketing campaigns that will promote Britain as the best tourist destination (Kotler et al., 2003, p.30).
The government in its part aims to provide funding for the ever ambitious marketing campaign that will attract tourists to Britain in 2012 and beyond. In addition, the government intends to increase the percentage of domestic tourists to match the number of UK residents who holiday abroad. Finally, the government aspires to improve the industry productivity to be among the top most competitive and efficient tourist economies globally. For the government and the marketing agencies to achieve these broad objectives, there must be sound tourism policy, tourism planning and wider infrastructural development in the country to make Britain be attractive to all visitors (Laws, 2002, p.340).
Besides, the government in collaboration with other agencies plans to renovate the market fiascos through modification and streamlining of existing and long-established tourism controllers to be more focused. Furthermore, the government plans to harness the industry-led partnerships between the public and the industry players. The marketing firms in the industry will get their funding over long-term partnership marketing promotion.
Branding and destination marketing
The role of marketing agencies is to give Britain a brand that will broaden the tourism offer and portray London as the Biggest UK’s most successful tourism destination. The aim is to seize the extra tourist’s capacity and potential in other parts of the world as well as in Britain. Branding Britain in both the design and symbol is intended to identify the country as the best tourism destination and in particular differentiate it from other destinations. Branding gives tourism destination such as Britain more value and differentiated features that create loyalty as well as repeat purchase (Morgan & Pritchard, 2000, p.47). Additionally, it adds value to the country destination and to the tourists that visit the country.
In essence, there are three main words that VisitBritain use to define Britain as the best destination for tourists. They include timeless, dynamic and timeless. These words summarize the people, culture and Britain as the place for tourists. British people are used at the heart of marketing. These words when combined together give the natural experience and the real sense that tourists would like. What really give Britain its unique sense is its rich history with enormous stories to tell as well as its real warmth of informality combined with spark and dynamism.
The Olympic and Paralympic games that are to be held in London materialize as a good opportunity to sell the UK to the unprecedented tourists. This will be achieved by making them believe that London is the place to visit soon. It is also the platform to show millions of people around the globe watching the game that Britain is the best destination for summer holidays. Moreover, the 2012 Olympic Games should not just attract fans and competitors during the games but also take that advantage to display other tourist attraction places, rich cultural heritage and beautiful country side (Laws, 2002, p.213).
Furthermore, Paralympics provides an opportunity especially to promote both foreign and domestic disabled visitors. All forms of media should be deemed the viable conduits through which the populace and the inbound tourists are enlightened about the 2012 Games and beyond (Morgan & Pritchard, 2000, p.47)
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The main goal is to take the advantage of the London 2012 as a once in a while generation opportunity to boost the United Kingdom tourism industry. By attracting approximately four million additional tourists into the country, it stands a chance of creating almost over fifty thousand within the succeeding four years. The Paralympic and Olympic games represents a significant tourist market estimated to generate revenues of about two billion pounds in England alone. It is also important to reinvent target marketing especially to the destinations that have high potential for the inbound (Lumsden, 1997, p.314).
Creating a Sustained Tourism Legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games
Nevertheless, creating sustained growth in tourism through sports events such as the Olympics, world cup and commonwealth games have proved to be tricky. There are numerous huddles to be overcome as observed in other countries who have initially hosted these events. The principle disadvantage is that most of the potential domestic and foreign tourists who are not passionate to sportive activities might not be attracted to the Olympic Games or any other sporting activity period (Preuss, 2004, p.247).
This is expected in spite of the games lasting for just a few weeks or a month in a particular city. The other disadvantage is that many visitors will expect overcrowding of the country hosting such games. In addition, many tourists will expect high prices for most of the facilities. This will nonetheless keep many visitors away thus impacting negatively on the sustained growth after the games. It will similarly affect the economy of the host country negatively.
To overcome these huddles, the host country must launch a creative and strong marketing campaign that will be targeting to overcome all the pitfalls. The marketing strategy will also be responsible for capturing of various potential tourism opportunities which the London 2012 games come with (Blake, 2005).
However, the marketing should not just concentrate in the 2012 Olympic Games. When present marketing challenges are successfully dealt with, the number of major subsequent international sporting and cultural events present a sustained improvement in the tourist economy. Britain is expected to host numerous major sports events in the next ten years. This implies there is an opportunity to continuously create sustained improvement within the tourism industry (Swann, 2001).
For instance, after the 2012 Olympic Games, Britain expects to host a number of major games including; 2012 Paralympics, cultural Olympiad, the 2012 Queens Diamond Jubilee, 2012 World Pride, 2013 Rugby League World Cup, 2014 Glasgow Common Wealth Games, the Scotland Ryder Cup in 2014, the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup and 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Generally, the marketing strategy employed should guarantee tourism industry a sustainable step change. In other words, the tourism industry should not just receive a one-off boost from the London 2012 Olympic Games but be able to achieve a constant step by step change. This will make the industry to continue operating afresh and consistently move towards higher levels of performance beyond the fiscal 2012 (Buhalis, 2003, p.117).
Tourism has materialized to be very vital for the growth and development of the economy. Apart from the direct and indirect employment opportunities that come with tourism, the industry is responsible for a third of foreign exchange earnings, reduces the overreliance on other sectors such as finance and regeneration of iconic sites. Most importantly it is a prospect to showcase Britain’s great legacy as well as national heritage that in a way not only delight the tourist but also improves the citizens’ quality of life.
The British government has put in place many approaches to ensure that the country is properly marketed especially towards the up-coming major Olympic event. Mostly the government has contracted major tourism marketing firms to market the country to the overseas visitors coming to UK in addition to the British nationals abroad who would wish to come back home for the Olympics. The marketing strategy employed by the VisitBritain involves the use of media both old and new, Websites, magazines and newsletters. VisitBritain has also used other marketing strategies such as partnering with other industry players to enhance its effectiveness towards the achievement of its goals.
The other important aspect is the sustainability of the Olympic legacy after the 2012 games. It is imperative that the flow of tourists be sustained not just for the 2012 games but also for other events that will be subsequently held in UK. Therefore marketing strategies should not just be focused in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, but must rather capture the gradual change towards and after the Olympic. In other words, the industry should be kept continuous in its growth even after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games.
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